Friday, July 23, 2010

Oregon Coast

We navigated our way back to the coastline by way of Eugene, an idyllic little college town where we had lunch with Brian's old friend from camp, Leslie. It's been fun to randomly connect (or try to) with people along the road, especially ones like Leslie, who Brian hadn't seen in 10 years. Crazy!

The Oregon Coast is everything you've heard of and more - strikingly beautiful landscapes (seascapes?) mixed with tiny towns hawking cottages and fresh oysters...too bad neither of us really like seafood. The whole coastline is truly endearing, though, and one of the best parts is the millions of state parks and campgrounds! We stayed at one just off the beach - pretty awesome location.

What they don't mention in guidebooks is a little thing called wind.

Unfortunately, that wind is what kept us off the beach and on the road. It is FREEZING out there, and in some spots the sand whips up and smacks your face or sends you running down the beach to catch your hat (Brian). Turns out the vantage point from the car is pretty nice :)

However, the northern coast did have a fantastic unexpected gem...the Tillamook Creamery.

By now you may have realized that I love love love cheese. And factory tours. Which makes Tillamook, Oregon's dairyville, one of my favorite stops on the whole trip.

The creamery had a really impressive setup with tons of history and information about the processes, and several viewing rooms. I was in cheese nerd heaven!

The best part, obviously, was the tasting. We got to try six different cheeses and then hit up the ice cream station, where I discovered one of the best chocolate ice creams I've ever had.

Tough decision.

The mild cheddar cheese was definitively the best cheddar I've ever had, which made me Tillamook's #1 fan.

Future Tillamook marketer.

One more word on Things to Love About Oregon: free roadside camping. We left the factory and headed inland towards Portland looking for a campground when we learned that you can kick it anywhere in the woods for free (at least in that area). There were lots of other people doing the same, so we felt good about it. After spending up to $35 on a campground site with no hookups, let me tell you, spending $0 on a site with no hookups is way better. What a great way to cap off our delicious day!

Brian's best fire yet.

Local artichokes and BBQ chicken.

Extra large marshmallows pilfered from our friends back in Mammoth. So giant that you can melt the entire outside and still have a solid marshmallow core left to enjoy.

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